Team Anna to fast at Rajghat, slams government (Third Lead)June 7th, 2011 - 7:16 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) Defiant civil rights activists, led by Gandhian Anna Hazare, Tuesday announced they will now hold a fast at Rajghat, the memorial to father of nation Mahatma Gandhi, to avoid a “confrontation” with the police.
They also slammed the government ministers, asking them to be “more tolerant” and not be “so arrogant”.
“We are shifting to Rajghat. We have spoken to the commissioner of police and will fast in the vicinity of Rajghat tomorrow (Wednesday) from 10 a.m. till about 6 p.m. We will fast and pray the whole day,” activist Arvind Kejriwal told reporters.
Team Anna Hazare had announced Sunday that they will hold a day-long fast at Jantar Mantar Wednesday to protest the midnight crackdown on yoga guru Baba Ramdev and his supporters.
But, as the police had clamped prohibitory orders at Janatar Mantar, they had written to Delhi Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta seeking permission. But, as till Tuesday afternoon, there was no response from police, they shifted the venue to Rajghat.
In April, Hazare’s five-day fast drew widespread support across the country and forced the government to set up a 10-member panel to draft a Lokpal bill to combat corruption in high places. While Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is the chairperson of the panel, lawyer and former law minister Shanti Bhushan is the co-chair.
Kejriwal, who is also part of the panel, also took on the government, saying that the “creditability” of the government was in “danger”.
“Whether the bill is in danger or not, only time will tell but I think the credibility of the government is definitely in danger with the kind of actions they have done. Come what may we are committed till the end of a strong anti-corruption law.
“The government should be more tolerant. Our language is not uncivil but they should not be so arrogant. Our fight is not against any individual but the system,” he said.
Kejriwal was referring to the allegation made by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, a government representative on the Lokpal bill drafting panel, that the civil society members were using the kind of language and discourse that was “unacceptable”.
He also alleged that Sibal does not want the civil society representatives to attend the drafting committee meetings for a strong Lokpal bill.
“He (Sibal) is putting words in our mouth and it seems he wants us to say that we won’t be attending future meetings,” he said, referring to Sibal’s comments that it’s fine if they come or don’t come for the meetings. “We won’t let you off so easily,” he warned.
The civil rights activists had boycotted the Lokpal bill drafting committee meeting Monday to protest the post-midnight crackdown Saturday on yoga guru Baba Ramdev and his supporters.
“We are back in the committee from June 15, we just boycotted one meeting,” said former police officer Kiran Bedi, who was also present at the press conference.
Criticising the Delhi Police, Kejriwal, also known as the RTI (Right To Information) man, said police has been misusing Section 144.
“We had challenged this in Delhi High Court. The Supreme Court had said the blatant applying of Section 144 is wrong and it is illegal to ask people to get permission from police before protesting at Jantar Mantar,” he added.
Police Sunday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in areas that include the Jantar Mantar and Ramlila ground.
On the day-long protest, Kejriwal said they not intending to “disrupt peace in the city”.
“It is illegal to impose section 144 at Jantar Mantar as it violates our fundamental rights which say that people can assemble peacefully. But our motive is not to confront the police or the government. Our goal for tomorrow (Wednesday) is to protest peacefully by fasting and praying,” he said.
“Peacefully protesting and assembling without arms is our fundamental right. So we are going to protest (tomorrow) against the imposition of Section 144 and it will be peaceful. If the government tries to resist, we will court arrest,” he said.
They also took on the government for not allowing live telecast of the drafting committee meetings.
Kejriwal said they have written to the government to know the reason behind their apprehensions.
- Team Anna shifts protest venue to Rajghat - Jun 07, 2011
- No police permission yet, but Hazare's fast on (Second Lead) - Jun 07, 2011
- Prohibitory orders put question mark on Hazare's fast - Jun 05, 2011
- Government, team Anna headed for showdown (Second Lead) - Jun 06, 2011
- Hazare calls for jail bharo after ban orders (Intro Roundup) - Aug 16, 2011
- Police mum on Hazare request for fast - Aug 01, 2011
- Prohibitory orders to be imposed ahead of Anna fast - Jul 29, 2011
- Anna, team to boycott Lokpal Bill meeting; fast June 8 (Lead) - Jun 05, 2011
- Talks to end Hazare's fast inconclusive (Lead) - Apr 07, 2011
- Hazare team to boycott Lokpal Bill meeting, to fast June 8 (Second Lead) - Jun 05, 2011
- Team Anna, government headed for showdown - Aug 16, 2011
- People in Sibal's constituency want Jan Lokpal bill: Kejriwal (Lead) - Aug 01, 2011
- Civil society members boycott Lokpal bill meeting (Lead) - Jun 06, 2011
- Anna slams Lokpal bill, vows fast from Aug 16 (Second Lead) - Aug 11, 2011
- Anna to boycott Lokpal panel meeting - Jun 05, 2011
Tags: anna hazare, arvind kejriwal, bhushan, civil rights activists, co chair, commissioner of police, creditability, delhi police, finance minister, government ministers, jantar mantar, k gupta, law minister, member panel, nation mahatma gandhi, police commissioner, pranab mukherjee, ramdev, shanti, yoga guru